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Do you have to apply for the Arkansas lottery Scholarship every year?

The Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, also known as the Arkansas lottery scholarship, is a merit-based scholarship program available to Arkansas residents attending approved colleges, universities, and certain trade/technical schools within the state. The scholarship program is funded by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery and provides tuition assistance to eligible students.


Yes, students must complete the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship application each academic year they wish to receive the lottery scholarship. The application deadline is typically June 1 prior to the coming academic year. There is no automatic renewal, so submitting a new application annually is required.

What is the Arkansas lottery scholarship?

The Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship program was created after voters approved the establishment of a state lottery in 2008. The purpose of the program is to provide financial assistance to Arkansas residents seeking higher education within the state.

The scholarship award amounts vary depending on the type of institution attended and other aid the student receives. At most public/private 4-year colleges and universities in Arkansas, the scholarship award amount is:

  • $1000 per semester for students with no other aid
  • $500 per semester for students with other aid

At 2-year colleges and certain trade/technical schools, the award amounts are:

  • $1000 per semester for students with no other aid
  • $500 per semester for students with other aid

The scholarship can be used to cover the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board (for on-campus residents). There are no restrictions on how the funds are used – they can pay for any eligible college costs.

Who is eligible for the Arkansas lottery scholarship?

To qualify for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, students must:

  • Be an Arkansas resident
  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Be accepted for admission and enroll in an approved Arkansas institution of higher education
  • Complete the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship application by June 1
  • Meet certain academic requirements from high school (minimum 2.5 GPA and 19 ACT score)
  • Enroll in at least 12 credit hours per semester
  • Make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree/credential

The academic requirements are waived for non-traditional students, such as adult learners returning to college more than 5 years after high school graduation. There are also different eligibility criteria for home school students, GED recipients, and students with learning disabilities.

Do you have to reapply each year?

Yes, recipients must complete a renewal application for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship every academic year they wish to receive funding. The application opens each February for the upcoming school year.

The annual application deadline is typically June 1. Applications submitted after this date may still be considered but award amounts will be reduced.

There are a few reasons annual reapplication is required:

  • To confirm the student still meets basic eligibility criteria
  • To get updated contact/college enrollment information for the student
  • To collect official transcripts to monitor academic progress requirements
  • To have student agree to updated program terms and conditions each year

The scholarship is not automatically renewed. Students must actively apply each year to receive continued assistance through the program.

What is the application process like?

Applying for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship involves the following steps annually:

  1. Complete online application – opens every February at
  2. Submit official high school (or college) transcript
  3. Complete FAFSA application
  4. Submit any other required documents (proof of residency, etc.)
  5. Receive tentative award notification by email, finalize school choice
  6. Institution confirms enrollment in the fall, final award amount set
  7. Funds disbursed to college by ADHE each semester

The application process itself is fairly straightforward every year. However, gathering the required supporting documents like transcripts and FAFSA information can take time.

Meeting the June 1 application deadline is highly recommended. Students are still able to apply after June 1 but may not receive the maximum award amount they otherwise would have.

Key Documents Needed

When reapplying each year, students will need to provide/complete:

  • Academic Challenge application
  • FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
  • Official transcript from prior year
  • Proof of residency documents (if requested)
  • Copy of college acceptance letter (new college students only)

Having these documents ready to submit by the June 1 deadline will help ensure prompt processing and maximum scholarship award amounts.

How is the scholarship amount determined annually?

The Arkansas Division of Higher Education (ADHE) determines the Academic Challenge Scholarship amount each year based on:

  • College type – Award amounts are different at 4-year universities vs. 2-year colleges.
  • Enrollment status – Students must be enrolled full-time (minimum 12 credit hours per semester).
  • Other aid received – Students with full other aid receive reduced amounts.
  • Application submission date – Earlier submission can increase award amounts.

The maximum possible award per academic year is $4000 at 4-year schools and $2000 at 2-year colleges. Students who receive full Federal Pell Grants or other tuition-specific aid will receive half that amount ($500 per semester).

ADHE will first confirm basic eligibility criteria when determining the award amount. Then they consider the school, enrollment, other aid amounts, and application submission date relative to priority deadlines.

Award Amount Tables

Here are the standard award tables used by ADHE each year:

Enrollment 4-Year School Max Award 2-Year School Max Award
Full-time (12+ hours) $4000 $2000
Half-time (6-11 hours) Not eligible Not eligible

Other Aid 4-Year Award 2-Year Award
None $1000 per semester $1000 per semester
Full tuition aid $500 per semester $500 per semester

Students are notified of their tentative award amount in the summer after submitting their application. The final scholarship funding is determined after school enrollment is verified at the start of each semester.

What happens if you miss the deadline?

If students miss the standard June 1 application deadline for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, they may still apply but their award amounts will be impacted.

Here is how missing the priority deadline affects the scholarship amounts:

  • June 1 – July 31: Eligible for up to $4000 at 4-year schools, or $2000 at 2-year colleges
  • August 1 – August 30: Award amount reduced by $1000
  • August 31 – September 30: Award amount reduced by $2000
  • After October 1: Not eligible for current academic year

As you can see, the later students apply, the lower the possible scholarship amounts become. Students who apply after October 1 will not be eligible for funding until the following academic year.

Here are some tips for meeting the June 1 deadline:

  • Start gathering required documents like transcripts in May
  • Complete FAFSA application by end of May
  • Watch email for application open notification in February
  • Create ADHE online account in advance to save time
  • Submit supporting documents within 2 weeks of applying

Planning ahead is the best way to ensure everything gets submitted by the priority deadline. This helps maximize scholarship amounts.

Can the scholarship be deferred or put on hold?

There is no option to defer or put the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship on hold for a year if a student will not be enrolled in college. However, students can request an exception if they need to miss a semester due to extenuating circumstances.

To be eligible for an exception, the student must submit a written statement explaining their situation along with supporting documentation. Reasons that may warrant an exception include:

  • Serious illness/medical emergency
  • Death of an immediate family member
  • Military service
  • Natural disaster
  • Family emergency

If approved for an exception, the student’s scholarship can be reinstated once they return to college. They must enroll within one year from the exception approval date to regain eligibility.

Outside of approved exceptions, students cannot pause or delay their scholarship for a year. Recipients must reapply and meet eligibility requirements each consecutive academic year they wish to receive funding.

Is there an appeals process if you get denied?

Yes, students who are denied the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship can submit an appeal of the decision. However, appeals must meet specific criteria laid out by the Arkansas Division of Higher Education (ADHE).

Valid reasons to appeal include:

  • Documentation was submitted on time but not received by ADHE
  • Failure to meet standards/requirements due to circumstances beyond student’s control
  • Incorrect information provided during application process

The appeal application must explain the situation along with providing evidence. For example, if the student claims missing documentation was submitted on time, they may provide proof of the date submitted.

Appeals must be submitted within 30 days of the scholarship denial. A committee will review the appeal and make a final determination to uphold or overturn the initial decision.

If the appeal is approved, the student’s scholarship application will be reconsidered and award eligibility restored. If the appeal is denied, the decision is final for that academic year.

Appeal Application Process

  1. Obtain appeal form through ADHE online portal
  2. Submit appeal application within 30 days of denial
  3. Explain reason for appeal with supporting documentation
  4. Committee reviews appeal and issues determination
  5. Student notified of appeal decision by mail/email

Having a valid reason and documentation to support the appeal gives students the best chance at a successful appeal. But there is no guarantee an appeal will be granted if the original denial followed established policies and procedures.


The Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship provides tremendous financial assistance each year to students pursuing higher education within the state. But recipients must reapply annually and meet all eligibility criteria to continue receiving the scholarship.

Completing the application process every year by the priority June 1 deadline ensures students receive the maximum award amounts they are entitled to. It also allows ADHE to confirm students still meet the merit and enrollment requirements to receive lottery scholarship funds.

While the annual reapplication may seem redundant, it is a necessary process. The Arkansas lottery scholarship is not automatically renewed. The award amounts and eligibility are reassessed each year based on the updated application and supporting documents provided.